Tag Archives: depression

LoveGram: Sending love backward

 

Hey there, beautiful friend! I am thinking of you and sending love.

Today I send you a letter postmarked from the future, addressed to your beautiful now self.

I send you the whispers of the willow trees, “hello, hello, hello” as you pass.

I send you a wave of well-being, the sun on your face and a small butterfly flitting by.

***

Welcome to your Sunday audio LoveGram.

Today’s LoveGram was inspired by an event I attended called “Love Letters for Vincent,” which was described so beautifully as “An online salon of love and memory on the anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s death, weaving together his exquisite and vibrant paintings with music and poetry inspired by his artwork by pianist/composer Kayleen Asbo and poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.”

Van Gogh was not a commercial success in his lifetime, he was lonely and struggled with severe depression and poverty. He shot himself and died at age 37.

The art salon was held on July 29, the anniversary of Van Gogh’s death.

It was intended as a way to send love back across the decades — hoping that this love, compassion, and appreciation would touch Van Gogh and let him know he is beloved.

***

What does that have to do with you, my friend?

Well, this: maybe you can send some love backward, too. Maybe there is a part of you who needs the kind of healing and love we all practiced sending to Van Gogh?

Is there a small child who was scared every night when the lights went out? Is there a fifth grader who felt left out and whose friends abandoned her for others? Did you long for something you never got? Did you try something and fell flat on your face? Is there a teenage you, who was left crying in her room after a bad breakup? Did you have an alcoholic parent and your life felt unstable? Were you sick and missed a big part of childhood? Did kids make fun of you?

Was there a you, way back when, who could really use some love from the you, right here and now?

***

Today’s LoveGram is an encouragement to send a big dose of love to that part of you.

When you listen to my 15-minute audio LoveGram, you will hear more about this.

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

***

If this all sounds a little too woo-woo, you can just look at it like this: any time we send love in any shape or form, we are the first recipients. It is an elixir for our soul.

So, even if you don’t believe we can send love letters to Vincent Van Gogh or to parts of ourselves, maybe you believe in the simple healing power of being love?

I hope so.

And I bet so. Because you are here, hanging around with me and others just like me in this community.

We are all tending to our hearts and tending to the hearts and spirits of people around us.

That’s who we are. That’s what we do.

I’m glad to be here with you!

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

P.S. I didn’t plan it, but I like that last week’s LoveGram was “Advance Love” and this one is “Backward Love.”

LoveGram: Advance love for your future self.

 

Hello Friend!

Today I send you a love letter you mail to yourself.

I send you clean sheets that smell like lilac, which you luxuriate in when you crawl into bed, exhausted.

I send you a song on the radio, one that you love from long ago, which you hear unexpectedly, and it brings a smile to your face.

***

Welcome to your weekly audio LoveGram.

In today’s LoveGram, we talk about some ways to think about how we can support our future self, especially if there might be bumpy roads ahead.

How can we prepare in advance to offer unbounded support and extra special attention to the self who may need it?

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

***

You can be on the offensive by declaring this a new chapter. Name it for yourself. Plan it.

Or, if it isn’t yet time for the new chapter, let this be an official period of transition/grief.

Don’t push yourself to go too quickly through your experience. It is so essential that we feel our feelings and process whatever loss or hardship is alive in us right now. There’s no rush. Be human!

***

You’ll hear in today’s LoveGram that I’m kinda doing both at once! I’m letting myself feel everything that wants to run through me, whenever it arises. I’m reaching out to friends and leaning in on their love.

AND, I’m setting up an autumn “Advance Love” program for myself.

I’ve created a list of books I want to read that I know will support the ways I want to grieve and grow. I’ve listed a few projects that I will complete. I’ve also made a list of some new skills I want to learn. And finally, I’ve brainstormed some ways I can be out in the real world, meeting people live again and volunteering.

***

Here are some ways you can plan to love yourself — now, next week, or next month— whenever it is time for the next stage of your healing:

  • Buy a beautiful journal for yourself that you will fill with love.
  • Make some audio recordings that let that future you know you care and understand.
  • Make a playlist of comforting or uplifting music.
  • Research meet-up groups where you might get to know new friends.
  • Create a list of books to read that you know will support you.
  • Enlist a friend for exercise accountability.
  • Reach out for places to volunteer.
  • Think about a musical instrument you would like to learn.
  • Make a list of projects that would feel great to complete.
  • List places you’d like to clear free of clutter.

***

My dear friend, I know that the past two years have been filled with grief, loss, loneliness, fear, and disappointment.

I understand.

I also know that this is exactly why we all must fortify ourselves.

This is why we must offer ourselves unlimited kindness now — and why we must plan advance love, too!

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

LoveGram: Be Gentle with Yourself

 

Welcome to your Sunday audio LoveGram.

Today I send you the smell of cinnamon.

I send you a warm, gentle hand resting on your shoulder. (And a little loving squeeze!)

I send you a strong and beautiful weeping willow tree, which whispers to you all the ways you are strong and beautiful, too.

***

How are you doing, my sweet friend? How is your heart?

I know there are so many hard things happening in the world — and in many people’s personal lives. I know there are losses of all kinds that everyone is grappling with.

I’m here with you. 

I’ve been talking to you the last couple weeks about my own journey of practicing “not hiding” when things are hard. I’ve been getting out from behind Cardboard Sherry and asking for help from people I love.

This is so important.

In today’s LoveGram, we talk about some other simple practices we can do to take care of ourselves when we are going through difficult emotions or life challenges.

You’ll see that these are also loving ideas you can offer to people you know who may need emotional support.

Because, of course, when we feel uplifted ourselves, we can offer a hand to someone who needs it.

***

You know me, I am all about the really small slices of time that we can live into because tiny moments of care and love for ourselves are always possible. (When I start thinking days or weeks or months, it is too overwhelming!)

A moment of self-care, gentleness, or beauty is always possible.

***

Here’s the link to today’s audio LoveGram.

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

***

I want to thank you for being here with me. Even though we may never have met in person or even corresponded, we are traveling this path together.

We are energetically supporting one another.

You are not alone. Nor, am I.

As Ram Dass so perfectly said it, “We are all just walking each other home.”

Thank you for being by my side, my friend. It matters. YOU MATTER.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

P.S. This past week, the Mango Publishing Author Panel I facilitate was focused on “Navigating Grief of all Kinds.” The two authors shared some simple and gentle tools to supporting ourselves through any kind of grief — death, illness, job loss, divorce, empty nest, disappointment, etc. Watch the replay as a self-care gift to yourself.

 

When we need help.

 

Hello my beautiful friend.

Here’s your link to today’s LoveGram.

My conversation with you today is about asking for help when we are unsteady on our feet.

***

On Friday I sent you an email confessing how hard it is for me to reach out to people when I am in a hard place. (“Meet Cardboard Sherry!”)

In that email, I included a poem and some beautiful wisdom by my friend, Maya. If you missed it, you can read that here. 

(Her poem is wonderful for when we feel shaky!)

A lot of you wrote to say that just like me, when you are having a hard time, it can be hard to reach out.

You shared with me your own struggles with feeling like a burden or letting down your guard. You shared with me how hard it is to be vulnerable and how it can feel as if once we start crying, we may never stop.

I’m so grateful to each of you. To those who wrote. And to those who didn’t, but who held the space with all of us by silently nodding your heads.

***

I’m grateful to each of you who is feeling strong and who is holding the ground for someone in your life who isn’t.

I’m grateful to each of you who, like me, is practicing every day how to be real with the people we love.

I started these Sunday LoveGrams back in March, 2020 when the pandemic first took us all by surprise. I had no idea how much loss and change and uncertainty was ahead of all of us.

These have been truly challenging times.

And yet, if you are reading this, HERE YOU ARE.

HERE WE ARE.

Together.

Sharing all of our joys and grief. Sharing ideas on how we can love people in our life and let them know how much they mean to us. Sharing ways to celebrate life — even when we are lost in the darkness.

Celebration and sadness are two sides of the same coin. When we are going through hard things and we allow ourselves to connect with people in a vulnerable way, we flip the coin.

The sadness may still be there, but there is a quiet, love-filled celebration that comes from sharing real life with another human being.

***

So, on the audio today I explore more why this is so important to do, even when everything in us wants to hide.

Click here to listen.

Thanks for being by my side. I’m here for you, too.

We are holding ground for one another through all of the everything of life.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

LoveGram: Feel all the feelings

 

Hey there, beautiful friend!

I am thinking of you and sending love.

Today I send you permission to lie down and rest.

I send you permission to sit in a soothing hot bath and cry until your insides feel a little less weighted.

I send you permission to reach out to someone no matter how much everything in you tells you to hide.

I send you a friend on the other end of the phone line who is able to hold anything with you — your joy, your grief, your anger, your confusion, your lethargy, your angst, your fear, your laughter, your mess.

***

I also send you one of my favorite quotes from my spiritual teacher, Cheri Huber. She often says, “It is hard to be human. Be kind to yourself.”

And it’s so true, no matter who we are, no matter what our current circumstances, we all go through hard times. We lose people. Life changes. We grieve. We worry about people we love. We get angry or disappointed.

It’s all part of the human experience.

And so, it is essential to hold all of that with deep compassion for ourselves.

***

Welcome to your Sunday audio LoveGram.

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

***

I am here with you.

I am holding it all with you.

I am feeling all the feelings with you.

Thank you for being here with me.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

LoveGram: Love as Fuel

Hello beautiful friend,

I am thinking of you and sending love.

As I’m writing this to you, we’re continuing to receive heartbreaking news from Ukraine. It can be so hard to hold all the emotions that arise during times like this when we know that so many people are living with violence and fear.

The truth is, as we know, that we live on a planet where there is always so much suffering.

We live in a world of paradox — there is so much beauty, goodness, and love. And there is so much violence, hatred, and fear.

How do we navigate all of it? How do we balance taking care of ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, and the wider world-community? 

When I wrote to you on Friday I shared with you that I thought a long time before sending out my email. I walked. I meditated. I waited. I considered. I took a long pause.

Then, I shared with you what seemed true to me. I want to share it again, here, not only for those of you who missed it, but because part of my LoveGram today is about the value of repetition. One of the ways we anchor in reflections and insights is to repeat them to ourselves.

I think all too often, we want shiny new everythings — and we forget that it can be extraordinarily helpful to take the time to revisit something over and over so it becomes part of us, not just a fleeting fancy.

***

In a world full of bombs and killings, how can we even think about anything else? How can we consider celebration?

After much thought, I came to the same conclusion I always do, which is that in the face of violence, grief, and hatred, LOVE can be medicine.

LOVE can make us generous. LOVE can fortify us so we can be there for others. LOVE can give us strength to take right action, whatever that looks like for each of us. 

When heartbreaking things are happening in the world, they can be a reminder to us to live our love out loud even more.

I really believe that if we allow ourselves to feel love, appreciation, and celebration — no matter what — we remind ourselves of our humanity and we can find the strength to support our worldwide community in previously unexpected or unseen ways. 

LOVE can open us to new frontiers of generosity. Let’s go there, together.

The world needs us.

 

**

You’ll hear this theme echoed in my audio LoveGram today.

You’ll also hear some of my writing from this past week — a piece that speaks to directly to the question of “Who am I to feel such joy and love in the midst of so much suffering?”

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

 

***

My dear friend, I know that the past two years have been filled with grief, loss, loneliness, and disappointment.

I understand.

I also know that this is exactly why we all must fortify ourselves. We must inhale all of the love, appreciation, beauty, and joy that we can.

The more we lift our own spirits and create energy, the more we have to give to people around the world who are suffering.

I’m here for you.

***

I see your generous heart.

I see the love you have ready to give in so many ways.

Now is the time to take any step that feels right to give your light, your time, your money, your support, your heart.

Don’t hold back. Be generous with yourself, your loved ones, and the beautiful strangers of the world.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

{Celebration Moment} Hello!

Hello Friend!

I’m thinking of you and smiling.

I’m just about to go for my morning walk and bask in the light of a new day.

(Sometimes it is easy to forget what a miracle that is. You know? Not everyone got to wake up this morning. Not everyone gets to the experience today’s specific kind of light or crispness of the air.)

I’ve heard from some of you lately that you are trying your best to feel joy and celebration in your days, but that it can be hard.

I know. I get that.

You might be grieving. You might be worried. Maybe life feels kinda bleh. Perhaps the pandemic feels scary and exhausting.

I know.

I know that sometimes it can be hard to tap into enthusiasm, energy, and vitality.

I want to remind you about the power of a single moment.

All we have to do is take a deep breath, give ourselves a squeeze, or place hand to heart, and commit to a single moment of light and joy.

Just one moment.

I practice that when I start off on my walk. I challenge myself to notice one small sliver of beauty.

When I do that, my mind starts scanning, following that imperative: find beauty, find beauty, find beauty.

This is what I want you to do.

Okay?

In service of that, before I go on my walk, here’s one simple tip to give you a little uplift.

Nothing fancy. Nothing big. Nothing that takes too much time or effort.

Today, at least once, be intentional about how you say hello.

That’s it.

Okay, well, let me say just a few more words.

When you are greeting someone today — a spouse, a friend, a colleague, your child, the postal person — bring extra enthusiasm into your voice. Consider adding a special flair to your greeting. Look that person in the eyes and exude warmth.

I want you to experience that one intentional moment of bringing joy to someone through a simple hello.

You may remember that I wrote an article about this, “You Had Me at Hello.”  In it, I offer six tips to make that moment memorable.

Scan that article. Read the tips. Commit to creating one joyful “Hello Moment” in your day.

Watch what happens.

***

Remember, YOU can be the one to lift others up. YOU can be the one to bring tiny moments of joy.

And, that joy always starts with yourself!

Your simple hello moment might turn out to be one of the most extraordinary moments of your day.

Creating small moments of celebration really can turn ordinary days into an extraordinary life.

Take it from me! I’m the girl who desperately wanted off the planet 30 years ago because I hated myself and my life.

Moment by moment by moment — one pinprick of light after another — everything changed.

***

I love you and am cheering you on, always.

Thanks for who you are.

YOU MATTER!

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,

xo Sherry

{Celebration Superstar} Meet Christina!

 

I hope you are having a good week, my friend. I hope you are feeling loved and that every day you’ve been noticing something beautiful in the world, maybe a tiny bird or someone’s smile.

If this hasn’t been such a good week, I hope that there’s someone in your life who gives great hugs. And I hope you’ve been extra kind and gentle to yourself. I hope you make some tea with honey. I hope you go look at the stars and wear your favorite knitted scarf. 

No matter how you are feeling when you read this email, I hope it makes you smile and remember that, no matter what, we can create a tiny bit of celebration. (Even when things feel dark and hard. Especially then!)

***

Do you remember last week when I wrote to you about the joy of creating a Super Supper?

(No problem if you don’t remember. Click here to read!)

A few days after I sent it, I received a note from Christina Shook, a friend whom I’ve known for more than 20 years.

Christina wrote to tell me about a “Fakesgiving Celebration” she hosted! (Don’t you just love that name?!)

Christina told me that she’d seen some turkeys on sale at the market and so she bought one. She said, “Then we invited some new friends over for dinner. We did the whole (but simplified) Thanksgiving dinner thing — stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce. We set the table fancy, too, of course. It was a hoot!”

You can imagine how delighted I was to hear Christina’s story.

I immediately emailed her back and asked, “What do you think it was that enabled you to go from ‘Let’s have turkey’ to ‘Let’s have Fakesgiving?’ How did you make that delightful leap?”  

Christina responded, “The leap from turkey to Thanksgiving seemed like a clear path. What are you going to do with 20 pounds of turkey?! You kinda have to share it. Turkey is a naturally celebratory dish that must be shared!”

She said, “One thing leads to another, just like how you described your Super Supper. It’s like that book, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie…”

(Ha ha. In that book, a boy gives a cookie to a mouse and it leads to a glass of milk and a straw and more … and more!)

Christina gave some details: “First the turkey. Then the guests. Then the big tablecloth. Then the candles. Pretty soon you’ve got a Fakesgiving happening!”

She said, “Our friends enjoyed it entirely and they brought the pies. And, of course, we all expressed gratitude and made toasts— which you kinda have to do, with the whole table set with bounty and friends.”

***

Bravo, Christina! What a Celebration Superstar, right? She took an ordinary turkey and turned it into an extraordinary Fakesgiving dinner filled with special touches, joy, gratitude, toasts, and bounty! 

Here are some elements of this story that delight me:

  • Christina followed each of the little ideas that dropped in. She didn’t say, “Nah, that’s too much trouble to get out the good tablecloth or to dig out the candles.”
  • Christina named the event. Sometimes, simply putting a name to something cements it in our minds as unique and special. We see it differently.
  • Christina invited others into the joy.
  • Christina made sure to pause during that dinner — offering toasts! — to acknowledge the moment and to intentionally celebrate her friends and the bounty.
  • Christina knew that her story would make me happy, so she took the time to write and tell me, thus spreading even more joy!

[Here’s a message just for her: Christina, I am celebrating YOU today! I love this story. I love that you followed the bread crumb trail of creating joy! Woot woot!]

***

  • I also want to celebrate a couple other things that I know about Christina. For one, that she is a talented photographer who intentionally brings beauty, love, and compassion to her work.
  • I am also celebrating that she is a caring and loving mother and wife. Through the years, she’s always kept family at the center of her world and have made people a priority in her life.
  • Christina has also been a living example of “Say it Now,” by reaching out to me often to thank me for my work or to request a letter for someone during my Birthday Kindness Project.

***

Please join me today in celebrating Christina.

I hope her story might inspire YOU in some brand new way this week. Will you allow a Give a Mouse a Cookie experience to come to life in some unexpected way?  

Listen, this pandemic has weighed us all down with so much grief, illness, and discouragement.

YOU can be the one to lift others up. YOU can be the one to bring tiny moments of you. They don’t have to look like a big ole turkey and a table full of friends. Those moments can be 100% unique to YOU. 

I started this letter to you with the word, “notice.” I want to end it with that same really important word.

Please notice what wants to come through you. Notice the little nudges you get. Follow them. Trust them.

Look for the sparkles and tiny pinpricks of light. They will lead you to that experience of turning ordinary days into an extraordinary life. 

I love you and am cheering you on, always.

Thanks for who you are. YOU  MATTER!

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,

xo Sherry

Celebration Superstar

 

In this week’s audio LoveGram, I tell you all about Carolyn and why she is such a Celebration Superstar.

Here’s the gist of it: Carolyn is someone who really FEELS life. She usually wears her emotions on her sleeve and it is a beautiful thing to get to experience.

All around us, people are walking around pretending that they don’t care, that things don’t impact them, that it is just another ho-hum day.

Carolyn reminds us that to be human is to experience life by allowing all our emotions.

Carolyn is touched by life, and when we are in her presence, we get to be touched by life, too.

It is, to me, a true form of authentic celebration.

You’ll hear more about Carolyn in the audio LoveGram if you click the link up above. 

LoveGram: The Everything of it

Last week I talked to you about permission.

Remember?

I was giving myself permission to let go in many different ways.

I encouraged you to do the same, if you needed it.

Having allowed myself that break, I can see that lots of things moved on through.

Like a young child, who allows herself to have a big cry when her ice cream cone falls to the ground, it passes. All that emotion goes from a wail to a whimper pretty quickly.

If we let it.

And then, next thing you know, a cute chubby puppy waddles by and that toddler is all smiles again.

Allowing is the sister of permission, I think.

We give ourselves permission to feel. We give ourselves space. We quiet our lives and minds.

And then, we allow our feelings.

We allow and we accept.

On today’s Audio LoveGram (Yep! Audio is back folks!) I tell you the story that dropped in as I was talking to you.

It has to do with a beautiful accordion player this morning. It has to do with me, smiling and listening happily.

And it has to do with the blaring of car alarm, on and on and on.

The everything of it.

The all of it.

All this beauty of being a human being.

My wish for you this week is that you carry around a basket of everything in your heart. Let it all nestle together, let it tumble and toss. Let it be what it is.

Permission. Allowing. Accepting. All the beauty.

That’s your challenge.

You up for it?

I hope so.

I’m here with you.

We’re all just walking each other home. Again and again and again.

And along the way, we get the accordions and we get the sunflowers and we get the fallen ice cream and we get the car alarms and we get all the sorrows and all the joys.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

P.S. Here’s the link to the Weepies, All this Beauty. (Today’s song.)

P.P.S. Thank you to everyone who writes me emails after each LoveGram. It means the world to me to hear from you. I’m sorry I can’t always respond to everyone each week. I read every single one. I do. You matter.